Srinagar: Oblivious of her own wounds inflected by the brutal pellet guns, a mother from north Kahsmir’s Kupwara district is attending to her grievously injured son at Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital. The mother-son duo was targeted by the government forces while quelling a peaceful protest demonstration.
Suhail, 17, is lying on a bed with his sunken eyes, puffed face and bruised body. A pipe is attached to his nose to facilitate breathing. His mother Hajira stares at her son with a mixed feeling of hope and affection.
Hajira is nursing pellet injuries on her back and shoulders. But her actual pain comes from the state of her son who is battling for life. His entire frame is perforated with pellets. Some pellets have hit his eyes and face. The doctor’s report on his personal file reads, “Multiple pellets in face, abdomen, neck, and legs etc”.
Hajra said the police action was totally uncalled for. “Three young boys aged between 9 and 11 years were picked up by the government forces from the shop fronts when there were no protests going on. This panicked the villagers and announcements were made to stage a protest against the arrest of small boys,” she said.
The protest was led by women thinking that they would serve as shield to men if police intercepted the procession. However, the people misjudged the police who used disproportionate force to quell the protest.
“They (police) sprayed pellets on us. I recall something like burning ambers was rubbed on my back before I fell unconscious,” she said.
While she was being treated at a local dispensary, she received the news that “broke my back”. “The boys told me that my son Suhail has been hit with pellets. I forgot my own wounds and came running to the hospital where my son was writhing in pain,” she recalled.
“I saw my son soaked in blood. This will haunt me for the rest of my life. How can I forget the heart wrenching scene? I can’t even forget it in my grave. I thought my son was lying dead,” she said with tears rolling down her face.
“While the protest was going on, the government forces personnel, especially from the police, resorted to abusing our women. They made obscene gestures and passed lewd remarks. It was atrocious and triggered men to hold protest demonstration,” an injured Suhail told Kashmir Reader.
“We restrained and did not indulge in stone pelting knowing fully that it would give the government forces and excuse to open fire on us,” he said. However, the policemen were out to target the protesters, especially the youngsters and they did it without any provocation,” he said.
“There were two men amongst the police personnel wearing army uniforms. They were targeting the youngsters with pellets,” he said.